Bikes Not Bombs in Roanoke?

Bikes Not Bombs  (<-cool youtube video) promotes bicycle technology as a concrete alternative to war and environmental destruction. For 25 years, BNB has been a nexus of bike recycling and community empowerment both in lower income neighborhoods of Boston and in the nations of the Global South. BNB’s programs involve young people and adults in mutually respectful leadership development and environmental stewardship, while recycling thousands of bicycles.  From Website Bikes Not

I was impressed with the Xtracycle company for many reasons, but one was that they created the cargo utility bike after doing service work in Senegal, Nicaragua and other countries with Bikes Not Bombs, “which promotes bikes as an alternative to war and environmental destruction”, helping people get to work and back and carry out basic functions of day-to-day living.  Our country is under stress in numerous ways, and the people hardest hit are always the ones with fewer means.  The people who rely on mass transit, walking, and proximity to shopping are the ones who could benefit from a “Bikes Not Bombs” style bicycle drive.

Today, Randolph Walker of Clarke Avenue made an excellent point in today’s Roanoke Times Letters section.  He asks, why are the folks who walk from their apartments everyday in his neighborhood, who take the bus to work and to the store everyday, not the ones who are covered in the news for being green, for sacrificing something, for doing something brave.  I agree.  These are forgotten soldiers, average folks who plan their days without the benefit of a car sitting in the parking lot, who have to scrounge the $3 to make it to work and back and in time to pick up children from daycare.  These are people who have it way harder than I have it, and they are the ones who deserve the attention for persevering, for making ends meet, and for being way ahead of the green trend by sheer fact of finance.  I agree, more should be done to celebrate these folks who, without choice,  lessen their footprint on the resources of our world every day.  I want to find a way to give them a bike.  If communities in cities like Boston and Phoenix can get Bikes Not Bombs local grassroots efforts off the ground to help young people and adults in low economic neighborhoods, maybe we can here too.  I’m especially attracted to the Girls In Action effort, teaching young girls bike safety, bike handling, and comradery.  Let me know your ideas.

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